A NEW quit smoking program has released its first graduates into the local community with a new lease on life, and fresher breath.
Specialist staff at Nowra Community Health created and hosted the region’s first evidence-based quit smoking program, free to Shoalhaven residents.
Program organisers wound specialist Michele Mangold, cardiac rehabilitation specialist Bronia Kandle and asthma educator Alana Hoye designed the six-week course to help reduce health problems they were seeing in clients, caused or exacerbated by smoking.
“In all of our fields of work, we see people with problems that are either caused by smoking or made worse by it,” Ms Mangold said.
Among the 14 people who registered for the program, participant Rachelle Thom from St Georges Basin, a smoker of 20 years, completed it and is now proud to say she has given up smoking.
“I feel unreal,” she said.
“My daughter saw one of those anti-smoking ads on TV and told me she was proud of me for quitting smoking.
“This program works, I felt comfortable with the people involved and there is ongoing support if I need it,” she said.
Fellow participant Bianca Black-Gales from Nowra was an intermittent smoker.
She said the program taught her to understand what triggered her smoking bouts and showed her ways to manage those situations without resorting to smoking.
“I started smoking again over Christmas and didn’t want to get back into full-on smoking,” she said.
“I want to be fit and healthy. One big change I’ve noticed is that when I’m not smoking I can exercise longer without losing my breath,” she said.
Nowra Community Health will be running another free quit smoking program for six weeks starting on Wednesday, May 22. For more information phone 4424 6300.